Two huge pickleball complexes are in the offing in Auburn, Alabama, and the port of Pensacola, Florida.
The City of Auburn has greenlit a $2 million initiative to enhance Lake Wilmore Park, earmarking funds for the construction of 12 covered pickleball courts.
Ann Bergman, speaking on behalf of Auburn Parks and Recreation, said, “First and foremost, we’re building them for our residents so they can enjoy pickleball, but secondly, that is another source of revenue for the city.”
Highlighting Auburn’s past success in tennis, Bergman was optimistic about the pickleball’s potential to thrive within the community: “Our residents are going to be thrilled that they can play on these covered Pickleball courts, not get rained out, basically, year-round here in Auburn.”
Diedre Hill, owner of Dink & Volley Pickleball store, echoed this enthusiasm, confirming their commitment to the sport’s growth: “We’re just excited about Pickleball! It’s so big in Opelika and Auburn, and we hope to be a part of it. We’re here helping out the community and the sport.”
A Variety Of Amenities
Situated behind Ogletree Elementary School, Lake Wilmore Park is set to offer a variety of amenities, including a community center with a walking track, a workout room equipped with cardio and weight machines, and two pools—one for laps and the other for recreation.
Phase two of the project will introduce four recreation fields for practices and six additional pickleball courts.
Bergman elaborated on the expansion plans, stating, “We will add six courts to the Lake Wilmore Project, which will give us a total of 18 covered courts.”
Auburn, Alabama, is about 100 miles southwest of Birmingham.
Port Of Pensacola
Meanwhile, in Florida, construction is set to commence on the pickleball courts at the Port of Pensacola. On Tuesday, Warehouse 4 Sports revealed plans for the inaugural phase of construction in partnership with the outdoor pickleball court company, Portside Pickle.
A 1960s Warehouse
According to a press release, the development team is converting a 1960s warehouse into a sports facility and is ready to kick off the initial phase of development.
Pending approval from the City of Pensacola, construction will soon begin on Portside Pickle, an outdoor pickleball venue to be situated along Commendencia Slip. The first phase aims for completion within three to four months following the onset of construction.
Rob Fabbro, the project’s developer, emphasizes that the outdoor pickleball courts represent the initial step in a comprehensive endeavor to refurbish Warehouse 4 and revitalize the waterfront along the port’s western side.
“We have two goals with the Portside Pickle concept. First, we want to meet the demand for quality pickleball space,” said Fabbro. This is the fastest-growing sport in the country, and cities everywhere, including here in Pensacola, are trying to accommodate that need.
“This is the fastest way and best way for us to put more pickleball courts into the community and build a quality experience for players.”
Eight Tournament-Sized Courts
The program will contain eight tournament-size outdoor pickleball courts, an area designated for outdoor activities such as cornhole or giant checkers, and a waterfront concessions section boasting seating and picturesque vistas of Pensacola Bay.
Fabbro also talked about the secondary objective of activating the waterfront along Commendencia Slip and promoting the maritime heritage of the Port of Pensacola:
“This can be a genuine experiential destination that showcases our waterfront and some of the great things happening at the Port. Whether you’re playing pickleball or grabbing a drink or bite to eat, you can enjoy the view, watch one of the big ships come in, or catch the American Magic flying across the Bay,” said Fabbro. “That’s a pretty cool experience.”
Players will have the option to reserve court space through online booking or rent courts on an hourly basis upon arrival.
Memberships featuring discounted rental rates and the opportunity for advance reservations will also be available.
Pensacola is about 175 miles west of Tallahassee.
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